Judges (By Last Name)

Dong, Yuanheng

Yuanheng Dong is a renowned young dancer, a principal performer of China Oriental Performing Arts Group, and a Master’s degree holder in Drama Performance from the Beijing Film Academy.

Yuanheng Dong, a renowned young dancer, graduated from the Department of Ethnic and Folk Dance at the Beijing Dance Academy. She gained admission to the Beijing Film Academy to pursue a master’s degree in Drama Performance, continuing to explore the vital role of physical language in stage performance and its application in film and television acting. Currently, she serves as a principal performer in China Oriental Performing Arts Group. Her notable theatrical works include ” Iphigenie auf Tauris” and “How I Learned to Drive,” while her dance repertoire features works such as “Rain on the Highland” “Enchanting of Desert” “Under the Bread Tree,” “Flowers in the Desert,” and “Fiery Flying Skirt.” Yuanheng Dong has represented China Oriental Performing Arts Group in numerous large-scale dance performances, song and dance galas, international cultural and artistic exchanges worldwide, where she has taken on significant roles. Her performance in the dance piece ” Enchanting of Desert” has been acclaimed as portraying a character as if “the reincarnation of Cleopatra”.

Feng, Ying


Ying Feng, a renowned ballerina and ballet mistress in China and currently the director and artistic director of the National Ballet of China.

She graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy and joined the National Ballet of China in 1980. In 1982, she was sent to the Opera National de Paris and studied with ballet masters like Maurice Bejart, Rossela Hightower and others. As a Prima Ballerina, she has danced the whole repertoire staged by NBC, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, etc. Since 1997, she began a career as a teacher, répétiteur and choreographer. Collaborating with great choreographers like Ben Stevenson and Roland Petit, etc, she staged for the company Bourneville’s La Sylphide and Stevenson’s Fountain of Tears, etc. As the artistic director, she produced for the company Bejart’s Fire Bird, Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, etc. Meanwhile, she also oversaw the restaging of Chinese New Year (Nutcracker, Chinese version), Le Sacre du Printemps, etc.

Since 2010, she organized NBC Ballet Workshops every year, presenting a dozen of original modern works with different characters and styles. She has been a constant participant of juries for major international ballet competitions, including Moscow Benois de la Danse, Jackson IBC in the United States, Varna IBC in Bulgaria, Helsinki IBC in Finland, etc.

Gao, Du

• Professor at Beijing Dance Academy, Dean of Chinese Folk Dance Department

Du Gao, dean of the Chinese Folk Dance Department at Beijing Dance Academy from 2010 – 2015. He is also an academic advisor for Master’s students and Ph.D. students. He is currently the Director of Beijing Dance Academy’s Chinese Folk Dance Research Center.  Mr. Gao has published numerous scholarly articles, including “Critical Issues in the Contemporary Chinese Folk Dance”, “Proposal to a Class of Movement Analysis of Chinese Folk Dance”, and “Structures of Professionalization of Chinese Folk Dances”. He was one of the contributors of the “Teaching Chinese Folk Dance”, from which he has won educational awards both from the China Education Ministry and the Beijing City government.


Tommye Giacchino


Tommye grew up in her mom’s dance studio where every day was spent in the studio dancing and taking class.  She has studied ballet for 26 years and is trained in tap, jazz, gymnastics, and baton twirling.
She was a former World and British Open Exhibition Ballroom Champion, Professional Rising Star Smooth Ballroom Dance Champion, and National Pro/Am 9 Dance and Standard Champion.
Following a World Championship win in Blackpool, Tommye traveled the world extensively to perform and coach in Asia, Europe, South America, and the USA.  She also served as a guest artist for numerous heads of state and world-renowned dance companies Gus Giordano, River North Dance Company, Hubbard Street, The Joffrey Ballet, The Chicago Symphony, Atlantic City, and Elgin Symphony Orchestras. Featured in television programs around the world, she was an artist and expert commentator on PBS’s Championship Ballroom Dancing, “America’s Ballroom Challenge,” Eurosport, ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WGN,  and the “Ballroom Blitz” on the TLC. In addition, she repeatedly coached dancers on “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars” and was an aerial coach for the last Two Olympic Gold Silver and Bronze Ice Dance Champions and current World Champion Ice Dancers.
Tommye holds 5 NADTA Certifications, a National DVIDA Examiner, and is currently coaching as well as  judging across the U.S.

Kristin Hakala


Kristin Hakala received her formative training in Michigan with Cornelia Sampson, along with studies at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School.  She began her professional career at the age of sixteen with the Nashville Ballet, where she held many leading roles. Most recently, Kristin was a principal dancer with Ballet West, where she performed the title roles in numerous ballets as well as a full range of contemporary, classical, and neoclassical works. She has performed internationally in China and Europe, including appearances in the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival. She appeared as “Sugar Plum Fairy” in a nationally televised broadcast on PBS and performed in the Winter Olympics with Ballet West in 2002.  Kristin is also a certified yoga teacher, a practice she finds particularly complementary to the demands of ballet training. She has taught for institutions such as Ballet West and Ballet West Academy, University of California-Irvine, and Michigan Ballet Theatre, in addition to teaching international master classes. Most recently, she taught at the world renowned Beijing Dance Academy, where she has been invited to return as a Guest Professor in 2016. From 2005-2007, she served as an adjunct professor at Wright State University and was a faculty member of Pontecorvo Ballet School. From 2008-2011, she served on the faculty of the Indianapolis School of Ballet and the Central Indiana Academy of Dance. Currently, Kristin is a faculty member at the Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine, California.

Hao, Jianmin


Jian-Min (Jimmy) Hao. At a young age, Jian-Min (Jimmy) Hao was accepted by the Guiyang ensemble, and after three years of hard training, Jimmy began dancing principal roles, and later got accepted to the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy. He became a faculty member after graduation, and Jimmy won awards twice for excellence in teaching, and won awards three times for outstanding in choreography at the Dance Competitions of China. After, he was also invited to work with the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. His choreographic works were presented in South Korea, India, France and United States, and he received awards five times for outstanding contribution in multi-cultural program from the Chinese Culture Association of Anchorage, Columbia, Los Angeles and Fresno in US. In 1991, he was given a scholarship from UCLA and received his MFA in Modern Dance Choreography.  After completing his degree, he danced, taught, and choreographed for the UCLA Dance Department, Los Angeles Modern Dance & Ballet, the Malibu Civic Ballet, the Jazzantiqua Company in L.A., the Yuzhiya International Ballet School in Tokyo, and Shanghai Normal University. In 2001 Jimmy was nominated for the Mayor’s Arts Awards in Anchorage, Alaska. In 2004 and 2006 Jimmy directed and choreographed a concert called “China Night” for University of Missouri-Columbia. Since 1996 Jimmy has been teaching as a ballet master, a professor, a director at Alaska Dance Theatre, Northwest Pacific Festival Ballet, Stephens College of Missouri, and University of Missouri-Columbia, including many professional schools and companies worldwide. Now Jimmy is teaching at Fresno City College of California.

Hu, Erdong


Professor Hu received his B.A. in Dance from Beijing Dance Academy’s conservatory program. He performed in Chinese traditional and folk dance forms and was the recipient of many awards at major Chinese dance competitions. He was honored a faculty position and taught Chinese traditional dance at Beijing Dance Academy for eight years. In 1985, he received an Outstanding Instructor Award for instructing student competitors in the Chinese National Dance Competition – “Taoli Cup”, given by the Chinese Dance Artists Association.

In 1986, he attended graduate school at the University of Iowa Dance Department, and his performance was aired on Iowa Public Television (PBS). In 1990 He also received the Outstanding Performer Achievement Award from Dance Magazine. After receiving his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, Er-Dong joined Dayton Ballet and performed as a Principal Dancer for four years.

Mr, Hu joined Theater and Dance Department at Bucknell University as an assistant professor in 1994. Between 2001 and 2011, he worked as a Director of Dance. In 2013, he received Bucknell University’s “The Class of 1956 Lectureship” Award for his inspirational teaching. In the same year, he was promoted to a full professor position. In 2014, he was nominated the best professor of the US.

Professor Hu has taught nationally and internationally. He has set dance pieces at many institutions including Texas Christian University, University of Cincinnati, University of Georgia, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mount Holyoke College, and the Chinese Arts High School in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He has worked as a judge of an American youth talent show on television in NYC.

Li, Hengda


Hengda Li, the founder of the American Asian Performing Arts Theatre and Hengda Dance Academy, is officially recognized in China as a “National Premier Dancer.” He graduated from Shenyang Dance Academy, majoring in Vaganova Ballet Method, and Beijing Dance Academy’s Department of Chinese Classical Dance Performances. Mr. Li has won many championships in China, including First Place in the Men’s Division at the 1st TaoLi Cup Competition in 1985 and First Place at the 2nd Annual National Dance Competition in 1986. After arriving in the United States in 1990, Mr. Li was a Soloist at the Pacific Northwest Ballet for six years. Since then, he has devoted his time to the development of the non-profit organization, AAPAT, to achieve his goals of promoting Chinese arts and culture in the U.S., as well as to Hengda Dance Academy.

Mr. Li received a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Washington, 2006. In 2011, he was an Artist Trust Fellowship for Performing Arts recipient for all his achievements and hard work. His recent projects include choreographing for productions in Las Vegas and China, as well as adjudicating at multiple competitions in China and the United States.

Lv, Yisheng


Yisheng Lv, the executive director of the Committee of Academic Affairs at Beijing Dance Academy, Doctoral Advisor on Dance Study at the Peking University, Beijing Dance Academy, Life-Achievement Award winner in Chinese Dance, Mr. Lv was the chancellor of the Beijing Dance Academy in 1990s and has been the Deputy Chairman of the Chinese Dancers Association. Mr. Lv is active in the educational fields of Chinese Musicals, Ballroom Dance, and Modern Dance Pedagogy. Mr. Lv has created numerous large-scale event ceremonies and live-shows. He has published more than 15 educational textbooks, including the “Introduction to Dance Study”, “Dance Aesthetics”, and “Dance Pedagogy”.

Lisa Naugle


Lisa Naugle, Ph.D. is a Professor of Dance in the Dance Department of the School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine. She is the recipient of the Cecil and Ida Green Honors Professor’s Award, 2000. She holds a Ph.D and MFA in dance from New York University. Lisa was a member of the Nancy Hauser Dance Company and has performed with several dance companies in the United States and Canada. Her background as a dancer includes work with Hanya Holm, Alwin Nikolais, Merce Cunningham, and Eric Hawkins.

Pan, Zhitao


Professor Zhitao Pan is a renowned dance educator and a key contributor to the institutionalization of Chinese folk and ethnic dance. Professor Pan spent most of his professional career as an instructor and administrator at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy (BDA), where he founded the Chinese Folk Dance department and served as its dean for over 20 years. Today, he continues to serve as a faculty advisor in the master’s and doctoral programs at BDA. He was the chief director of the pre-opening performance at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, as well as the dance director for China’s 60th Anniversary Grand Musical. He also founded the “TaoLi Cup” national competition for Chinese dance in 1985.

Shao, Junting


Ms. Shao is a principal dancer at the Youth Dance Company, based in the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy.  She has won numerous awards in various national dance competitions including the National Dance Competition, Taoli Cup Dance Competition, Lotus Flower Cup Dance Competition, and CCTV Dance Competition.  Her signature dances include “Love for Lotus”, “Maple Trees and Lights on a Fishing Boat”, “The Goddess of the Luo River”, and “Love, Fate.”  Among her dances, her interpretation of “Love for Lotus” has made her a household name in China.  In 20XX, Ms. Shao was invited to represent the artistry of Chinese dance to President Obama during his visit to China.

Her instructional videos of the “Love for Lotus” dance has thousands of hits online and the dance has been a favorite for all Chinese dance lovers worldwide.  In fact, “Love for Lotus” was the most performed dance in the Overseas Taoli Cup dance competitions.

Tian, Peipei

Ms. Tian is the Deputy Dean of the School of Music of the Capital Normal University, Head of the dance program, professor, doctoral advisor, as well as a member of the National Art Professional Degrees Evaluation Committee.  She was named one of the “Top 200 Most Influential Academics in China” published in 2017 by “GS Data” and “Academic China”. She’s currently on the Board of Directors of the Chinese Dancers Association and is the Deputy Director of the Dance Education of China’s Primary and Secondary Schools, Deputy Director of the Committee, Director of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, and Lifetime Honorary Professor of Sangmyung University, Korea. Her artistic creation and academic footprints are spread over more than 50 countries and regions, such as the general director of the “National Day Large-scale Art Performance” in Singapore in 1994 and 1995. She is a key contributor to the  systematic academic system in the fields of dance education, creation and art management. She has published 10 related books, more than 20 authoritative journal articles, participated in more than 12 provincial and ministerial-level projects, and more than 30 original works such as “Butterfly”. Her choreography has won more than 20 awards such as “Lotus Award” and “Taoli Cup”. She has been a judge for competitions such as “Lotus Award”, “CCTV TV Dance Competition”, “I want to go to the Spring Festival Evening”, “UN UNESCO International Youth Dance Competition”. “, Seoul International Dance Competition” and other important domestic and international competitions.

Edward Verso


Wang, Mei


Mei Wang is a renowned professor and choreographer of the Beijing Dance Academy, recipient of “Young Core Instructor” from the City of Beijing, and recipient of “Mr. Hu Chunan Teaching Grant” from the Beijing Dance Academy. Wang began her dance career with ballet, then transitioned into Chinese folk dance, and graduated from the Chinese Folk Dance program of the Beijing Dance Academy. She later studied Modern dance and received the Modern Dance Diploma from the American Dance Festival. Wang has been a professor and dance director for the Modern Dance program since 1990.

Magnum Opus:
“Net”, “Naughty Kids”, “Dawn”, “Spring”, “The Phoenix Hairpin in My Heart”, “Tides”, “That Night”, “Legend on the Chair”, “Two Bodies”, “The Red Fan”, “Linger”, “Time Passes like Flowing Water”, “Dance as Your Heart Pleases”, “Finding the World Once Lost”

Major Events:
Opening Ceremony of the 7th National Games: 4th and 5th program, “Tides”, “Rhythm of Youth”; Opening Ceremony of the World Conference on Women NGO; Opening Ceremony of The Return of Hong Kong “In Full Bloom”, “Montage – 1999”, “We See the River Bank”, “Maybe We Will Fly”, “Gone with the Wind”, “Thunder and Rain.”

Wang, Tong

• Professor at UC Irvine Dance Department

Tong Wang graduated with honors from the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy in 1986. He performed as a principal dancer with companies such as Shanghai Ballet, Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Dayton Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and, most recently, Ballet West. While dancing professionally, Tong completed his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in Ballet Teaching and Choreography with the University of Utah Ballet Department and also worked as a guest faculty member. Following a successful career as a principal artist, Tong Wang has continued to devote his talents to the field of dance as a choreographer, dance professor, and master teacher.  Internationally, he continues to choreograph new works, teach master classes, and stage his work at various dance schools and companies, including Beijing Dance Academy, Zhejiang Professional Arts Academy, Nanjing University of the Arts, Shanghai Normal University, Tianjin University, and Fudan University. Currently Tong is an associate professor at the distinguished Dance Department of University of California, Irvine.

Xiao, Suhua


Professor Xiao is a nationally renowned choreographer, educator, and theorist. He is a professor at Beijing Dance Academy and also the academic advisor for Master’s students. He’s the Vice President of the Board for Chinese Ballet Association and has been invited as a judge for more than forty international Ballet and Modern dance competitions around the world and for more than twenty national dance competitions.

His publications in choreography and teaching method have contributed to many internationally awarded routines. Because of his contributions to the dance world, he has been awarded educational awards both from the China Education Ministry and the Beijing city government.

Xing, Duoli


Mr. Xing graduated from the first class of Chinese Folk Dance Education from the Beijing Dance Academy.  He then studied at Brigham Young University as a visiting scholar in dance. He has been a guest artist for the Beijing Dance Academy, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and China Northeastern Normal University. He is currently the artistic director of the Guangzhou University School of Music & Dance, Vice Chairman of the Guangzhou Dancers Association, Deputy Director of the Guangzhou Education Bureau’s Arts Committee, Chairman of the Beijing Dance Academy Alumni Association Guangdong Province Chapter, and Chairman of the Guangdong Province Sports Dance Association.

Xu, Zhigang


Mr. Xu has been a primary Chinese Classical Dance educator at the Beijing Dance Academy affiliated high school since he graduated from the school in 1976. At the high school, he has taken on roles as deputy headmaster and executive chairman among others. He was an editor of the China Performing Arts Pedagogy Collectives on the dance section and was a principle demonstrator for the Chinese Classical Dance section. He was on the judging committee for the most prestigious China Taoli Cup Dance Competition for the 6th, 7th, 8th, and the 9th annual events. Mr. Xu has won numerous awards including the “Outstanding Educator of Performing Arts at the 30th Anniversary of China’s Opening and Reforming” award.

Ying, Feng

Ms. Ying graduated from the Chinese Department of Fudan (Fordham) University and studied at Capital Professionist University, Beijing Professionist University, and the Guanghua School of Beijing University for management.  Ms. Ying has greatly contributed to the cultural and art management field, and has served as the Director of the Research Office of the Education Department of the Ministry of Culture, Director of the Art Higher Education Division, Director of the Teaching Department and Editor-in-Chief of Art Education. From 2001 to 2011, she served as the deputy dean of the Central Cultural Management Cadre College and later promoted to the leadership position of the Central Opera House.

Ms. Ying has also served as a member of the Expert Committee of Undergraduate Teaching Evaluation of the Ministry Education, a member of the Teaching Guidance Committee of the Art Department of the Ministry Education, and a deputy director of the Teaching Guidance Committee for Drama, Film, and Television.  She has presided over the evaluation of teaching work and related teaching activities of dozens of higher art college such as the Central Academy of Drama, Beijing Film Academy, Beijing Dance Academy and Shanghai Theatre Academy. She has participated in and presided over the evaluation of many national-level teaching achievements, excellent courses, famous teachers and other projects, and participated in and presided over the evaluation of cultural and art research projects of the Ministry of Culture. She also edited and published “Art Spring and Autumn” (co-authored), “’95 Theatrical Performance Teaching Collection” (editor), “’97 Taoli Cup Dance Competition Proceedings” (editor), etc., and published more than a hundred articles about art education.

Yang, Ying


Yang is recognized as a “National Premier Performer” in China. In 1996, she graduated with a BA in Literature with high honors from the Beijing Dance Academy, which is considered the “dancer’s cradle” by the international art community. Yang has systematically studied Chinese Folk Dance, Chinese Classical Dance, Dance Pedagogy, and Dance Performance. She is also experienced in theater arts. Yang has been winning competitions on the national scale since 1991, including first place in the 4th Beijing Dance Competition, first place in the 4th Taoli Cup, and one of the top ten performances in Taoli Cup. She has also competed in international dance competitions for China, participated in cultural exchange programs, and was the featured dancer in the 1 st East Asian Games Opening Ceremony and the 7th China’s National Games. Yang has performed in the USA, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, the Philippines, and Singapore, where she received high praise from local media. She has received the title of “The Cross-Generation Young Dancer” from the Chinese Dancers Association for her extraordinary achievements in the art of dance. There are only 20 recipients of this title in all of China. To further her study, Yang has obtained a master’s degree in dance from Arizona State University.

Yu, Xiaoxue


Mr. Yu is a National First-Class Artist, and many of his works were awarded as “Classical Artist Performances for 20th Century”.  He’s the Dean of Beijing Dance Academy Chinese Folk Dance Department Performing Arts Major and the Executive Director of Chinese Folk Dance Grade Test Center.  He was the first place winner for the Original Taoli Cup two times in a row and first place winner for the National Dance Competition. He’s a recipient of the Chinese Artists Association’s “Cross Century Artist” honorary title.

Zhang, Qi


Qi Zhang is a dancer, choreographer, creator, producer, and educator. Qi received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Education from the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy in China, studying both classical Chinese and modern dance. Upon graduation she was chosen as principal dancer for the Beijing Youth Dance Troupe. She has received many awards, including the “Culture Award” for Best Performance by the Chinese national government and the Chinese Minister of Culture, the highest award presented to a professional artist in China. After earning her Masters of Fine Arts degrees in Dance, Choreography, and Production from the California Institutes of the Arts (CalArts) in 2002, Qi has taught numerous master classes, workshops, and lectures in the US and abroad, including leading summer sessions at CalArts as a Chinese Dance Guest Consultant.